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Experimental evidence that quorum rules discourage turnout and promote election boycotts

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  • Luís Francisco Aguiar-Conraria

    ()
    (Universidade do Minho - NIPE)

  • Pedro C. Magalhães

    ()
    (University of Lisbon, Social Sciences Institute)

  • Christoph A. Vanberg

    ()
    (Alfred-Weber-Institut, University of Heidelberg)

Abstract

In most instances of collective decision-making, it cannot be expected that all persons who are entitled to vote will end up doing so. This has led institutional designers, out of concerns with the “legitimacy” of decisions, to introduce quorum requirements. A prominent example of this can be found in the context of direct democracy mechanisms, such as referenda and initiatives. We discuss the results of an experiment about the consequences of such quora. We show that quora lead to overall decreases in participation rates, dramatically increasing the likelihood of full-fledged electoral boycotts on the part of status quo supporters.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by NIPE - Universidade do Minho in its series NIPE Working Papers with number 14/2013.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:nip:nipewp:14/2013

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  1. Valenciano Llovera, Federico & Laruelle, Annick, 2010. "Majorities with a quorum," IKERLANAK 2010-42, Universidad del País Vasco - Departamento de Fundamentos del Análisis Económico I.
  2. Tilman Börgers, 2001. "Costly Voting," NajEcon Working Paper Reviews 625018000000000232, www.najecon.org.
  3. Matsusaka, John G, 1993. " Election Closeness and Voter Turnout: Evidence from California Ballot Propositions," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 76(4), pages 313-34, August.
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  5. Valenciano Llovera, Federico & Laruelle, Annick, 2010. "Quaternary dichotomous voting rules," IKERLANAK 2010-41, Universidad del País Vasco - Departamento de Fundamentos del Análisis Económico I.
  6. Myerson, Roger B., 2000. "Large Poisson Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 7-45, September.
  7. Luís Aguiar-Conraria & Pedro Magalhães, 2010. "Referendum design, quorum rules and turnout," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 144(1), pages 63-81, July.
  8. Coate, Stephen & Conlin, Michael & Moro, Andrea, 2008. "The performance of pivotal-voter models in small-scale elections: Evidence from Texas liquor referenda," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3-4), pages 582-596, April.
  9. Jordi Brandts & Gary Charness, 2011. "The strategy versus the direct-response method: a first survey of experimental comparisons," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 375-398, September.
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  12. Aguiar-Conraria, Luís & Magalhães, Pedro C., 2010. "How quorum rules distort referendum outcomes: Evidence from a pivotal voter model," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 541-557, December.
  13. Arthur Schram & John Sonnemans, 2001. "Voter Turnout as a Participation Game: An Experimental Investigation," Levine's Working Paper Archive 563824000000000033, David K. Levine.
  14. John Filer & Lawrence Kenny, 1980. "Voter turnout and the benefits of voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 35(5), pages 575-585, January.
  15. John G. Matsusaka, 2005. "Direct Democracy Works," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(2), pages 185-206, Spring.
  16. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  17. Stephen Coate & Michael Conlin, 2004. "A Group Rule–Utilitarian Approach to Voter Turnout: Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1476-1504, December.
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